How to Choose POS
Choosing the right POS system is critical to the smooth running of your business. It acquires to understand exactly what you need, and what you don't need. Since margins get tighter in most industries, you will need a good POS to do much more than before.
How do I choose the right POS System for My Business?
There are following Steps you should follow.
1. Software: Think about what features you need for your business first and the services you like to provide to your customers. Usually software will provide a set of requirements, and then base on the requirements to choose the hardware. In general, a POS software should have, but not limited to:
- Inventory management
- Labor / Employee management
- Sales Management (Reporting and analytics)
- Customer Management (Gift and loyalty)
- Price adjustment
- Sync in-store and online purchases
- Loss prevention
2. Hardware: Some POS software requires a powerful system to run, others are not. You need to decide the services you are going to provide your customers before choosing a proper POS terminal and its peripherals. When you choose a Point of sales terminal, you basically need to look into below details on each item.
- Performance: higher specification means better performance. For instance, a CPU with higher clock speed, a RAM with bigger capacity and a SSD / HDD with faster data transfer rate can easily outperform those have a lower speed, a small size and a slow data transfer rate SSD / HDD. Nowadays, an entry level POS terminal is using Celeron CPU, 4GB RAM and 64GB SSD while a powerful POS terminal may use Intel® Core i3 CPU, 8GB RAM and 128 SSD and up.
- Features: Rich features give more possibilities to offer wide range of services to customers. It can smooth the working processes for employees, serve more customers, and help the owners to gain more businesses. A standard POS terminal should have at least 1 x VGA (For 2nd display), 1 x RJ12 (For cash drawer), 1 x LAN port (For networking), 4 x USB ports (For barcode scanner, or EMV card reader) and 2 x COM ports (For VFD, or Thermal/Receipt printer…etc.)
- Reliability: If it fails during the business hour, it is not able to make the transaction only, but you can also lose customers' confidence as well. There are some details you can look into, such number of control boards and daughter boards, cables and screws a POS terminal is using.
- Conformance: This is the method to measure the quality of product if it meets the original design specification. The technique is to keep tracking the record of every part that each system is using and establish the data base for future reference. When it's needed, the investigator can locate the problems and find solution for it.
- Durability: Each product was designed for the normal operation with a certain lifetime at the beginning, so does the components. Longer MTBF means different standards which needs better parts and require intensive tests. Certainly, the cost will be much more.
- Aesthetics: In the past POS terminals are the replacement for the traditional ECR and used for daily business operation. At that time, POS terminals look buggy, without good looking, heavy color (Black or dark gray), but now you can ask POS manufacturer to customize a POS terminal with desire color and ID that fits your company image and even to your surrounding environment in reasonable price.
- Serviceability: This is the thing people usually missed, but it defines the consumer grade and the professional grade product.
a. Disassembling / Assembling - If you are a hardware distributor or a system integrator, you need to look into this. Imagine replacing an LCD panel, one system needs to remove 4 screws while the other needs to remove 18 screws. You probably need to spend 5 to 10 minutes more to perform a service on one system. The more systems to serve mean more time you need to spend and more money you will lose.
b. Long Term Supply - It won't be a problem at the 1st year or two after your purchase, but it can be an issue after the 2nd year. Most consumer grade components become obsolete in two or three years while other industry grade components can supply up to 5 years or more. If you bought a POS terminal with consumer grade components, you might have trouble to find the parts when services need afterwards.
3. Payment Processing: Typical payment methods include cash, checks, credit or debit cards, and online payment service such as Apply Pay, PayPal…etc. Other than cash and checks, you need to set up a merchant account order to process the payment transactions.
4. Integrations: It requires certain skill and time to put them all together. Other than does it by yourself, most professional system integrators offer a complete package, including software, hardware, integration, support, and warranty. Some may even offer leasing program instead of paying all at once.
5. Support (After service and warranty): Most cloud-based POS systems include on-site support with the monthly subscription fee. If it's necessary, you can get premium package with 24/7 support. As for local-installed POS systems, technicians charge by hour in most cases.
6. Security: Since each system stores lots of transactions data and customers' profile, it's better to have a strong firewall to protect your network and a good antivirus program to protect your systems.
7. Training: Last but not at least, a qualified system integrator or solution provider should give basic training that will save you a lot of time from learning curve.
Further Assistance to Choose the Right POS Terminal
When the time comes, you need to make the final decision and to find the balance point between budget and feature. "You get what you pay for!" Once you have decided what you need from above, write down a List of must have items and ask local system integrator's advice. The good thing is you have done your researches and homework, so you won't be over sold by sales personnel. Certainly, they charge for their services. However, it is a small price to pay for avoids lots troubles later on. "Happy employees make happy customers!" Just keep in mind the purpose of using a POS system is to streamline and simplify your operations, not to get things more complicate.
Penetek Technology Inc. has years of experiences in designing and manufacturing durable, reliable and ingenious POS terminals. Starting from the developing stage, we carefully choose industry grade components, such as LCD panels, the touch panels, the CPUs from Intel® Embedded/IOT solution, and even small detail as a tiny screw that has NYLOK® blue patch for positive resistance to vibration and loosening. Furthermore, we think not just from user point of view, but also from service perspective. We took lots efforts on mechanical design, making it simpler and easier by reducing the number of screws and cables. All of above is because we want to bring great user experience to whomever use our system and to make pleasant and joy feeling to whomever perform service and maintenance on our terminals.
All of Penetek's POS terminals have been put into extreme tests 24 hours per day, 7 days a week during the stage 1. In addition, the main board is specific designed for POS application that means one board with all the interfaces (6*USB, 4*COM, 1*LAN, 1*RJ12 and 1*VGA ports...etc.). Unlike many other terminals are using standard ITX or mini-ITX M/B that requires additional daughter boards for different interfaces, and lots cables to connect between them. More boards and cables usually mean harder to do service and more troubles may get in the future. Furthermore, we pick desktop CPUs (Intel® Core i-series, TDP 35W) over laptop CPUs because of its performance (Average 30% to 110% higher), but still manage to keep our systems in fan-less.
Penetek cooperates and partners with many regional system integrators and hardware wholesalers in worldwide.
If you need further assistance to choose the right POS terminal for your business, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com.